From the Book: “It is better to do good than to be right.”

I selected the phrases for my coloring book to say what I thought might be most important to others within the activist community.  But because the coloring book simply has the coloring pages without commentary, I thought I might use this venue to elaborate a bit on why I chose to include what I did.

“It is better to do good than to be right.”

I chose this phrase for two reasons.

First, I think it should be obvious how much of the state of our world is due to people being so sure that they’re right, so committed to a rule or dogma or belief, that they’re rendered unable to see the harm being done to others.  This addiction to being right is what fuels the belief that the disadvantaged or downtrodden must have brought it on themselves or that they somehow deserve that suffering.  Those beliefs and feelings have to go together because they justify each other.

So when we seek to help others, are we trying to help them be right or are we just trying to help them?  Are we avoiding helping people who we think have made the wrong decisions or chosen the wrong side?  Are we worried that if we help people persist in being “wrong” that we aren’t doing enough to fight for what’s “right”?

Second, I chose this phrase for the coloring book because I see too many people afraid to take action because they’re afraid of getting it wrong somehow, of not doing the most effective thing or joining the most important cause.  In a world in need of a vast amount of change and good work, where do you start?

It’s a lot like those of us who look around at our homes knowing they need to be cleaned and choose not to clean at all because we don’t have time right then to really tackle the whole job.

Not every act of goodness will change the world.  But every act of goodness changes a bit of the world for someone.  And that is more important than having chosen the absolute perfect way to do good in the world.

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